Why is all this talk about rest sandwiched between assertions that Jesus is the Ultimate Priest?
“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (3:1)
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:15-16)
Between these verses is a lot of confusing verses about resting “today” and not getting disqualified like “they” did. I would be lying if I said I knew exactly what all this meant, but I can share a speculation.
The redemptive Salvation of Jesus, our Great High Priest, has made obedience personal. He is softening our hearts by His Spirit. He was obedient to God and showed us this most excellent way. Through faith, we can follow in His powerful way. But unbelief paralyzes us and worse: wears us out with tireless strife.
What if I’m not accepted by God? What if there’s still something I need to do? Other religions have rituals, should I do something like that? Nothing’s free, I’ve got to figure out what my contribution is. Being a human is hard and confusing, God doesn’t get that. Am I supposed to be tithing more? Serving my church more? What does He want from me?? What about myself and my life? Where will I live, work, what will I eat, wear, do? Does God see me? Does He care? Does He fight for me? Am I alone?
How can I know?
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4:12)
He is near and powerful. He has accomplished Salvation for us and granted us rest. He relates to us, knows us, understands us, communicates with us and for us.
There are a lot of levels on which we need rest. Ask Jesus where He can grant you His rest today. And have faith He can bring it.